Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Sales of Condos are up while prices are down

There's a good article in the Sarasota Herald today about the local condo market:

Condo sales end 2009 up strongly

Staff Report
Published: Wednesday, January 27, 2010 at 1:00 a.m.

In the Sarasota-Bradenton market, December sales rose 144 percent compared with a year ago, with 310 condos sold compared with 127 in December 2008. For all of 2009, 2,618 units changed hands, up 14 percent from 2,291 in 2008.
In Charlotte County-North Port, December sales rose 68 percent, with 47 units changing hands compared with 28 a year ago. For the year, 404 condo units changed hands, up 41 percent, according to data from the Florida Association of Realtors.
Sales of homes in the Sarasota-Bradenton and Charlotte County-North Port market rose 43 percent and 42 percent, respectively, during December.
The jump in condo sales for the year came at the expense of prices in a region that continues to be dominated by distressed sales -- foreclosures and short sales.
For the year, the median sales price in the Sarasota-Bradenton market were down 31 percent, from $213,600 to $147,800. In Charlotte County-North Port, the yearly median was $95,200, down 25 percent from $126,500 in 2008.
But prices showed life last month, giving more evidence of what has been a stabilizing trend for several months.
The December median sales price in Sarasota-Bradenton dropped 22 percent to $148,600 from $191,700 a year ago. But last month's median was up 5.3 percent when compared with $141,000 in November. In Charlotte County-North Port, prices dropped 31 percent to $82,500 from $120,000 a year ago. But the median was up 3.1 percent from $80,000 in November.
Statewide, 5,968 condo units changed hands during December, a 91 percent increase from a year ago. The median was $107,000, down 18 percent from $130,300.
The biggest price drops were in Ocala at 58 percent, Tallahassee at 55 percent and Charlotte County-North Port's 31 percent decline.
For the year, 55,985 condominiums changed hands, a 47 percent increase from 2008, while the median was $108,000, down from $164,200 in 2008.
This story appeared in print on page D3
Copyright © 2010


Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Patrick Dempsey's Bel-Air home sold by Sotheby's International Realty

The Grey’s Anatomy star, Patrick Dempsey, 43 - earned his nickname “Dr. McDreamy” for his portrayal of Dr. Derek Shepherd on the ABC medical drama (2005-present) - has sold his Bel-Air home for $2,571,500. Patrick Dempsey’s New England traditional-style two-story features four bedrooms and 4 ½ bathrooms in 3,841 square feet and also has a fireplace in the living room, a formal dining room and a kitchen that opens to the family room. The gated house sits behind the hedges on less than acre with a swimming pool; a brick patio; flat lawn and a matching tree house. He also starred in the movies “Made of Honor” (2008) and “Enchanted” (2007). The actor listed the property in March at $3,595,000. Public records show he purchased it for $3.1 million in 2006. Brett Lawyer of Sotheby’s International Realty, Sunset Boulevard office, handled both sides of the deal.


Tuesday, December 15, 2009

There has been a lot of talk out there on who gets the most "hits" on their website. Afterall, with 90% of the buyers stating they began their search for a new home by looking first on the internet, it's an important question to ask your prospective real estate agent about their website.

Now there's a third party company that you can check website traffic for yourself. It's called and it's worth a look. One of our competetors was heralding their performance on the web in a recent newspaper article and I thought you'd enjoy this graph straight from that demonstrates their actual lack of competitiveness as compared with


Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The Herald Tribune is reporting today that home sales in Sarasota are up 50%!!

I'm reminded of the Mark Twain quote: "There are three kinds of lies; lies, damned lies, and statistics".

As I've stated before, I think everyone in the business is seeing more activity but that doesn't mean we're out of the woods just yet.

Here are the "statistics" for condos in the downtown/Lido area as of October 2009 (taken from Tredgraphix):

Listings are up 3.2% since last month, down 9% since last year, and down 5.9% from 15 months ago.

Sales are down 40% since last month, up 20% since last year, and down 18.2% from 15 months ago.

Pending Sales are up 59.1% since last month, up 250% since last year, and up 118.8% from 15 months ago.

The only trend I see from these stats is that pending sales are way up. I've explained recently that a large portion of these pending sales are "short sales" which take longer to close and often never do.

I remain positive for the long term future of sales and a return of slowly escalating prices in the downtown area. I'm also encouraged by the "type" of buyer we're seeing recently. One that is looking for the Sarasota lifestyle and will actually USE the condo at least part of the year. Very few buyers are looking at the purchase option as purely an investment. That's probably a good thing.


Monday, November 23, 2009

Yes things are getting better in general, but what's happening with downtown Sarasota condos?

My last post hailed the fact that existing home sales are up an astounding 10% nationally, but all real estate is very localized. People want to know what's happening in my town, my neighborhood, even my street or condo!!

Here are some facts for the zip code 34236 which includes condos on Lido along with the downtown area:
1. There are still about 400 condos on the market. This number has not changed appreciably for most of 2009.
2. There are 63 pending sales. This is up almost 250% from a year ago but 60% of them are "short sales or bank owned" meaning they may never close. Many have been in pending status for several months which has swollen this category out of proportion. If one assumes that only 20% of those pending short sales will eventually close, then the real number of pending sales is more in line with the current sales volume.
3. Sales for the last 3 months have averaged 22.3 per month. 19% of those sales are either bank owned or short sales. This means we still have about 18 months of inventory on hand and most economists believe that a 6 month supply represents a healthy, balanced market. It also shows that the sellers in this market must compete with the bank owned and short sales head to head...these cheap "under priced" comps are no longer an anomaly that the seller or potential seller can dismiss.

A year ago it was very difficult to say what some of these properties were worth because there hadn't been enough recent sales to justify ANY offer. Now, at least, there have been sales and buyers are feeling more comfortable to make offers in line with those sales.

In the final analysis, I do think we are building a base here at the end of 2009 and prices will SLOWLY move upward from here. The best inventory is getting picked up and prices have been stabilizing. My co-workers and I are seeing an increase in activity with showings and offers and October/November is usually a very quiet time of year!


Existing Home Sales in the United States Rise in October by a Staggering 10.1 Percent!

The U.S. housing market is showing more signs of increased activity, as cheap home values and the ongoing support from the U.S. government through tax credits for first time buyers continue to support activity in the housing sector, yet the housing market is still stabilizing amid the worst slump since the early 1930s and we should expect activity to increase only gradually, since rising unemployment, tightened credit conditions, and rising foreclosures will continue to weigh down on activity in the housing market.
The National Association for Realtors released today the existing home sales index for the month of October, existing home sales increase in October by a staggering 10.1% to an annual rate of 6.10 million units from the prior revised estimate of 5.54 million units, where single family home sales increase by 9.7%, and Condos sales increased by 13.2%.
Moreover, the supply for pre-owned homes available for sale declined noticeably in October to 7.0 months from the prior reported estimate of 8.0 months of worth of supply, as the median price dropped in October to $173.100 from $176.000, while average prices for homes declined to $218.100 from $221,000.
Cheap home values continues to support activity in the housing market, as it’s luring consumers into buying homes, while the tax credit program from the government for first time buyers which was extended by President Obama indeed continues to support activity as well, as though the housing market is still stabilizing and we probably won’t see a sustained recovery in activity, but still activity overall is rising.
However, we still expect the housing market to remain under pressure, especially as unemployment is now standing at a 26-year high above 10%, while the outlook for the labor market still suggests that unemployment will probably rise further over the upcoming few months before it starts to drop back probably within next year.
Rising unemployment will l surely affect activity in the housing market, as income growth will drop and accordingly consumer spending will decrease and savings on the other hand will increase, and since consumers are still rather uncertain over the outlook for the economy, they will continue to save rather than spending money, and considering credit conditions are still tight, we should expect activity in the housing market to be negatively affected, which means that the recovery won’t be to continue over a strong pace.
Yet still we are past the worst of this housing crisis, as the housing market seemingly managed to reach its bottom and started to rebound slightly, though activity is still stabilizing but the housing market is indeed improving, and that could provide a solid base for any upcoming recovery for housing market activity, though we still expect the housing market to continue being under pressure at least in the first half of next year.
However, this was still good news for investors, as equity markets rose strongly in today’s early trading session, where the Dow Jones Industrial Average index rose so far by 1.65% and was last traded at 10488.81, while the S&P 500 index rose by 20.14 points to trade at 1111.52, and the NASDAQ Composite index rose by almost 2% to reach 2187.91, data as of 10:18 New York time.

this article was copied from E-News.


Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Just got an update from Toni Schemmel, our marketing director, with news of our Wall Street Journal microsite stats...


I just wanted to send you a brief email update on some new information available at Sotheby’s International Realty! These are just a few things that differentiate us from our local competitors.

· is now available in German and Chinese. This brings total languages to 6 including Portuguese, Spanish, Italian, French, German and Chinese!

· The Business of Extraordinary Living microsite ( stats through September are available. Highlights are below.
o 920,389 times when one of the SIR listings were served up (made the search criteria) on the microsite.
o 52,308 times those users went off to view a specific SIR property on the site. This equates to click through rate (CTR) of 5.68%.
o The banner campaign (where ads run to drive traffic to had its highest monthly CTR yet in September of .37%. This is in comparison to the industry norm and WSJ norm of .1%!
o Average time spent on the microsite in September was 4 minutes and 56 seconds.
o The Address had the highest number of page views in September followed in order by Insights, Living and The Brand.

· provides visitors with an exclusive place to search and shop for high-design, high-caliber home products. With over 20,000+ products featured, showcases the best in furniture, lighting and carpets along with the largest collection of textiles by leading brands on the web. The Sotheby’s International Realty network has gained exclusive exposure on by collaborating with Architectural Digest to be an official launch sponsor. This partnership continues to provide our network with targeted impressions through a property search tool, a link to our latest issue of RESIDE® magazine and brand web banners, all leading to Check out this video from FOX news Coral Gables, Florida.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Here's a copy of the latest news from SAR:

Oct. 14, 2009

September sales skyrocket as market approaches equilibrium Real estate expert Barbara Corcoran listed Sarasota as the number one place in the nation to buy a property in her latest "hot market" prognostication. She cited the lower property prices - 30 percent below last year at this time - combined with a recent price surge of 13 percent in the last quarter, plus Sarasota's unique "metropolitan" cultural appeal for boosting this area to the top spot. On the Oct. 6th Today Show, Corcoran said Sarasota was the top place to buy real estate in the nation today, an opinion shared by SAR and most area real estate professionals. As a confirmation of Corcoran's report, home and condo sales jumped by 35 percent in September 2009, compared to the same month last year, and 9.7 percent from the August 2009 stats in the Sarasota market. Total sales stood at 554 in September, compared to 409 total sales in September 2008. The breakdown was 399 single family homes and 155 condos sold last month. Sales in September 2009, traditionally a slow month at the end of the summer, were unexpectedly higher than in August 2009, perhaps signaling an early end for the traditional slower season as we head into a hoped for robust fall and winter. The median sale prices continued to be held down by the high number of bank-owned property sales and short sales, which accounted for half of the single-family home sales and a third of the condo sales. But the "discount rack" is beginning to thin out, and once the bargains are gone, there is the potential for price appreciation on a stronger scale. The median sale price for single family homes was $165,000 last month, up slightly from the previous month, but down 21.8 percent from a year ago. The condo median sale price was $162,500, down significantly from September 2008's $190,000 figure. The future price trend might well be upwards, as about half of the single family sales and one third of the condo sales involved short sales and foreclosures. Once these distressed properties are off the market, the normal, arm's length sales should bring the median prices to higher, true value levels.
"We certainly agree with Barbara Corcoran, and her conclusions are what we've been saying for many months," said Bill Geller, 2009 SAR President. "This is an amazing time to buy Sarasota properties at prices not seen since the early 2000s, or even earlier. But the public needs to understand - these prices won't last. Once the market reaches equilibrium, and we've exhausted the distressed property pool, we will start to see more and more multiple offers on choice homes." The $8,000 first-time homebuyer tax credit was one of the factors in the recent market resurgence, which produced sales in September that nearly topped the 600 level for the second time in 2009. In addition, investors seem to have returned to take advantage of the price drops. Pending sales in September have also continued to show strong levels - very near the 800 mark - as the real estate market recovers after a two-year recession. Pending sales have now exceeded the 800 level for seven out of nine months in 2009, after lingering in the 400 to 500 per month range for much of the previous two years. The statistic is a strong indicator for the next two or three months of sales, when many of these pendings will become closed sales. Pending sales are sales where an offer has been accepted during the month, but the sale has not yet closed. Even though some pending sales never close, pending sales are an indicator of current buyer activity. Most of the statistics continue to point to a market in the initial stages of recovery. Inventory levels continued to decline and are now at the lowest point since the boom ended - a good sign for a market in recovery. There are now only 3,915 active single family listings and 2,337 active condo listings, figures not seen since August 2005 and earlier when the boom first started. The "months of inventory" - the number of months it would take to sell all the available properties at the current sales rate - was down for both single family and condos. The figure is 9.8 months for single family and 15.1 months for condos. A figure of 6 months is considered to be a market in equilibrium between buyers and sellers.
Click HERE for the complete PDF version of the press release, along with two pages of statistical charts.

Sarasota Association of REALTORS®


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